A massively overdue collection of Online Commentaries and Diversions, now on a weekly (or so) basis:
Review: the Absolute on The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte. "Where The Amateursand Stechschulte truly shine are the moments of calm reflection that heighten the tension between episodes of violence and dismemberment. The butchers continually discuss their predicament, shifting between sorrow, fear, rage, and exhaustion." – Marie Anellothe Absolute
Review: Comics Worth Reading recommends An Age of License by Lucy Knisley. "Like the best travelogues, An Age of License shows you what it would be like to visit a place while reminding you that you can never have the same experience. If you liked her last book, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, you should definitely check this out — there are some food mentions you’ll appreciate, but where Relish focused on past events, An Age of License gives more insight into the person Lucy Knisley is now." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
Review: The Irish Times discusses how The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez exemplifies the strengths of the graphic novel format. "As ever with Hernandez, it’s funny, complex, unsettling and beautifully drawn. It’s also a reminder that a graphic novel can do things that a novel told in straightforward prose simply can’t." – Anna Carey, The Irish Times
"That's the fascinating paradox of John Severin's war comics, and of Kurtzman's war comics in general. A story like "Night Patrol!" may have all the details of the soldier's uniforms correct, portray their formations precisely and even be photo-referenced from the landscape of the region in which these men hike. But what really stands out here (maybe my favorite piece in the book due to its noir feel) is the sense that the men are trapped by their surroundings and their job, oppressed by the desolate landscape, unfeeling sky and cold rain that conspire to make their lives miserable." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review: The Comics Alternative examines the political and historical contexts of Wallace Wood's Cannon. "For anyone familiar with spy fiction, the stories serialized in this collection are fairly standard, often serving as political mirrors that reflect the disillusionment felt by soldiers and veterans exiting the Vietnam War. In the course of the book, Cannon fights South American insurgents (led by Hitler in disguise, of course), domestic terrorists, right-wing militias, emasculated conmen, and neo-Nazis (but not the ones led by Hitler in disguise)." – Kenneth Kimbrough, The Comics Alternative
Check out this amazing video on S. Clay Wilson, with highlights from the upcoming Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1:
Review: Comics Bulletin on Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot by Floyd Gottfredson. "This is a gorgeous, surprising, wonderful package of stories full of thrills, surprises and a heady level of quality cartooning. The twists and turns that the masterful Floyd Gottfredson delivers are wonders to behold. If you think that Mickey is just a boring corporate icon, you need to read his battles with the Phantom Blot." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review: Comics Bulletin on M.K. Brown's collected works in Stranger than Life. "Brown is one of those rare cartoonists who's been able to follow her own muse for most of her career, and while some of the material presented in this book has the sort of off-center approach that many of the bestNew Yorker cartoonists take (as in the excerpts above), other pieces are more freeform, more of what seems like a reflection of Brown's unique inner life; all bulbous people drifting through life, doing faintly ridiculous things for pretty much no good reason." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review:Comics Alliance looks at Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph and it's legacy of violence. "Nijigahara Holograph manages to do many things very well. It's a sprawling story that never loses its focus on characters. It's symbolically laden without being heavy handed...It carries a palpable dread that will haunt you well after you put it down." – Kevin Church, Comics Alliance
Review: HTML Giant on Cosplayers by Dash Shaw. "This comic looks to both examine and excise our notions of otaku, nerds, geeks, and the like. Cosplayers will strike a chord with anyone who turns to reading as an escape, be they lit-nerd, comic geek, messageboard troll, or a little mixture of all of the above." – HTML Giant
Charlotte, NC: Soak up some Southern charm at the 2014 Heroes Con! Known for being almost solely comics centered, there are too many amazing artists and writers attending for me to list them all. But here are some Fanta greats that'll be holding it down in the invitation only, Indie Island: Rich Tommaso! Noah Van Sciver! Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez! Plus so, so, so many others. The convention runs from June 20-22, with tickets still available! (More details)
Saturday, June 21st
Charlotte, NC: Continues through the weekend! Just as awesome as yesterday, maybe as awesome as tomorrow. Don't miss the Hernandez Bros panel at 1:30, moderated by Tom Spurgeon!
Savannah, GA: The solstice is going to get fun and freaky in Savannah as Dame Darcy hosts its first annual Mermaid Parade through Tybee Beach! Wear your boldest Mermaid costume, win prizes, clam jam to live music, and take a chance to be crowned mermaid QUEEN! Parade kicks off the festivities at 1 pm. (More details)
Seattle, WA: If you've been looking to spruce up your walls with some new original art pieces, pop by the Jeremy Eaton art show in Ballard, running from 12-6 pm. (More details)
Seattle, WA: For the first time, Seattle audiences will get to witness the live action comics anthology performance of Gridlords #23! Presented by Short Run, watch a combination of music, puppetry, video, readings, and more come together to form an original narrative. Many artists are participating, including Andrice Arp! Begins at 7 pm, at Gallery 1412. (More details)
Sunday, June 22nd
Venice, CA: A free opening reception for an exhibition celebrating the work of LA comics artists winds down the weekend, and features pieces by the likes of Ron Rege Jr., and Jordan Crane! The featured artists will be attending and reading from their work. Sponsored by Comics Juice, the reception begins at 3 pm.
The Scott Eder Gallery is one of the premier sellars of comic book art, and is the only gallery in New York City that is exclusively dedicated to showcasing and championing the art of comic books. So it's no surprise that when they open a new show, half of the talent on their roster include Fantagraphics artists.
Opening in tandem with the first ever New York Special Edition convention, the Scott Eder Gallery put together an anthological show to highlight their favorite selections over the past six years, and surprise premieres. Of the numerous masters being exhibited, there are a slew of Fantagraphics favorites and crowd pleasers, including:
So if you're already in New York, or flying out for the first annual comic creator centered show, NY Special Edition, add this show of continuously jaw-dropping original art to your list of places and events to hit up while you're in town!
Opening reception and party takes place on Friday, June 13th at 6 pm, gallery show runs until Septemeber 5th. Books, prints, and original art available for purchase!
Next month's issue of Booklist will include review of a recent releases by a Fantagraphics creator, excerpted below: The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez Starred Review: "Skillfully merging tragedy and serendipity, Hernandez brings the [Maggie and Ray's] intertwining stories to a satisfying, if hard-won, culmination. The simplicity of Hernandez's page designs and the elegant economy of his drawing style belie the thoughtful sophistication of his storytelling… Although The Love Bunglers certainly isn't a jumping-on point for new readers, fans who've followed Maggie's exploits over the years will find it a heartbreakingly satisfying achievement that leaves the door wide open for further chapters in this most rewarding and accomplished of serialized comics." –Gordon Flagg
88. Buddy Bradley fromHate, Buddy Buys a Dump, etc. "For some, though, Bagge's early ‘90s hipster caricature was the closest comics got to depicting the world Gen X'ers knew, or at least the world they thought would make them look cool if they acted like they knew it. Through Buddy, Bagge bitingly dredged up the paranoia at the core of every ‘90s alt doofus." – Garrett Martin
35. Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World "Teenage girls, in particular, get the short shrift in comics as Betties and Veronicas, but Enid is spunky, dangerous and recognizably human. In Ghost World, Enid brings her glorious three dimensions to the trials of adolescence." – Hillary Brown
"His cantankerous, money-crazed persona is tempered by a sympathetic backstory from Barks, showing how the millionaire waterfowl earned every dime of his immense wealth through hard work and cunning. This simple setup has fueled decades of stories, the animated series DuckTales and, more recently, a new series of acclaimed reprints of Barks' classic comics by Fantagraphics." –Zack Smith
"Hopey is all spikes and broken glass - a kid at heart - and, as children are, often thoughtless, selfish and wild. That she manages to be completely endearing and relatable to the reader speaks to Hernandez's achievement in Hopey's characterization." – Hillary Brown
10. Maggie from Love and Rockets/Locas by Jaime Hernandez "Maggie's evolving, deepening emotions since 1981 make her one of the most realized and substantial characters in the entire comics medium. She's stereotypically feminine in many aspects - emotional, irrational, eats her feelings - but she also bends gender norms, as evidenced by her talent as a mechanic." – Hillary Brown
"To experience Maggie's story is to watch a modern comic-book master explore the potential of his craft, and The Love Bunglers represents a high point for both the character and her creator." -Oliver Sava, A.V. Club
Rolling Stone recently listed it's Top 50 Non-Superhero Graphic Novels and we made up 22% of that list (including a few books that we published and have been rereleased by others). If you haven't picked up one of these books, get steppin' to your local comic book store, buy one from the website, visit the library---you've go so many options! Picks by Joe Gross also of the Austin-American Statesman.
47Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco "Joe Sacco is one of the medium's premier journalists; that he has focused on war-torn regions makes his work feel that much more vital and impressive...Gorazde - is a great place to start."
44You'll Never Know series by C. Tyler "Tyler is a top flight memoirist, and You'll Never Know pulses with a maturity not often found in the medium."
43Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai "Never less than thoughtful and entertaining, Usagi Yojimbo is one of the most consistent comics around."
15Uncle Scrooge by Carl Barks "His Donald Duck stories are a comedic blast, but his Uncle Scrooge stories are veritable silly symphonies of complicated plotting and intercontinental adventure. Need a master class in how to tell a great comics story? Read any Barks' Scrooge stories from 1950 until his retirement in 1966. It's all there."
5The Complete Crumb by R. Crumb "To ignore him completely is only to invite accidentally ripping him off; he's the Bob Dylan of the comics underground, and his work is embedded in the medium's DNA now."
1Love and Rockets by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez "Imagine the Clash or R.E.M. or Run-DMC not only never broke up, but, for 30 years, never once released a less-than-excellent record. Imagine their command of their craft just became more pronounced year after year, earning the unshakable admiration of their fans and peers. Imagine they made the best record of their career, 30 years on, this decade. This is essentially what Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have done with Love and Rockets, the greatest American comic book series of all time."
New digital comics are out and available to download via comiXology and Sequential! Chill out, download some comics and enjoy them on the go, be you on the way to the beach, the bus home or freaking out at the dentist's office (which you can afford now that you don't have to spend as MUCH money on bookshelves).
Buddy Bradley's back in Buddy Buys a Dumpnbsp;from Peter Bagge! Now in his 30s and married with child, onetime slacker hero Buddy Bradley gets a "real" job, shaves his head, dons an eyepatch, quits his "real" job and buys the local dump - because what better place to raise a toddler? Peter Bagge's iconic character is to alternative comics what Homer Simpson has been to television animation over the past quarter-century: a generation-defining slacker and the greatest comedic character of its form and era. Featuring stories originally published in the comic book series Hate Annual from 2000-2011, as well as an all-new 20-page conclusion to the story arc. Available at comiXology for $14.99!
Volume 2 of Unlovable continues with issue #2 "Dream Date". February of 1989 heats up as Tammy Pierce is building up her shrine of boyfriend-to-be Ken Olsen. Will Tammy give up her Debbie Gibson cassette for a mixtape of The Smiths just because Ken told her to?! Her best friend, Kim, just keeps chain-smoking and judging all the while. These 108 pages by Esther Pearl Watson are only $4.99?! Bestill my heart, comiXology!
Available at Sequential is Jaime Hernandez's The Love Bunglers. After a lifetime of losses, Maggie finds, in the second half, her longtime off and on lover, Ray Dominguez. In taking us through lives, deaths, and near-fatalities, The Love Bunglers encapsulates Maggie's emotional history as it moves from resignation to memories of loss, to sudden violence (a theme in this story), and eventually to love and contentment. Much like John Updike in his four Rabbit novels, Jaime Hernandez has been following his longtime character Maggie around for several decades, all of which has seemed to be building towards this book in particular. $14.99 on the Sequential Comics App.
144-page full-color 6" x 9" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-745-1
"Pete Bagge created a generational icon who I grew up with, and continued to grow up with even after I was a grown up. This book collects the last thirteen years of Buddy's life - and keeping up with him is like keeping up with an old pal from college who, while you still don't see them as often, you still miss dearly, and are always surprised at how much your life and theirs still overlap." -Benn Ray,Atomic Books
"[Buddy Bradley] attacks modern, and more adult-oriented, social trends-MILFs, recessions, mortality-with the same critical skill and wit he brought to the grunge era. For those of us who've accepted these stories piecemeal over the past dozen years, it's nice to seem them joined together." –Christopher Arnott, Below the Fold
112-page black & white 9" x 11.25" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-729-1
"...it's maybe the best comic I've read all decade...A beautiful, humane, masterfully executed comic." –Tom Spurgeon,Comics Reporter
"Being a collected edition of Jaime Hernandez's hugely-appreciated climax-of-sorts to his ongoing chronicles of erstwhile romantics Maggie and Ray...IT'S THE SEASON FINALE OF LOVE AND ROCKETS." –Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
832-page four-volume hardcover 7.5" x 10.5" x 4" slipcased box set • $94.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-728-4
"I'm kind of hooked on the black and white author-oriented Fantagraphics volumes because they force me to reconsider artists that I power past when they're collected in a format resembling the original comics..." –Tom Spurgeon,Comics Reporter
It's a happy day for the Love and Rockets fans in the office (i.e. all of us): advance copies of Luba and Her Family are in the house! This is the latest Gilbert Hernandez volume in the Love and Rockets Library softcover omnibus series and the first to collect Gilbert's work from the post-Volume 1 era. Whether you're the kind of completist who needs all the books, or the kind who just wants to read all the stories in the proper narrative order, or a new reader who wants to jump on with a good, more recent starting point, you need this book. Jump on our pre-sale and take a gander at some of the contents (including the table thereof) right here.
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